The Eye Of A Needle
Walking through security at the Needle Gate, Jerusalem
Front View of the Needle Gate (aka Judgment Gate) @ St. Alexanders Chapel and Russian Excavations
Front View with the Joe-kster for perspective (superb Israel Tour group leader Roy Turkington pointing the way in background)
Rear View of the Needle Gate
Q: What did Jesus mean when He said it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven? (Matthew 19:24; Mark 10:25; Luke 18:25)
A: The Persians expressed the concept of the impossible by saying it would be easier to put an elephant through the eye of a needle. The camel was a Jewish adaptation, since the camel was the largest animal in Palestine.
Some theorize that the needle Jesus was speaking of was the Needle Gate (see above), a low and narrow after-hours entrance found in the wall surrounding Jerusalem. It was purposely small for security reasons, and a camel could only go through it by stripping off any saddles or packs and crawling through on its knees.
Some believe that Jesus was referring to an actual eye of a real needle. However, it was common to have a hole in the wall beside a city gate - this hole was commonly referred to as the eye of a needle. The idea was that people would do commerce and perhaps look after their animals outside of the city walls during the daytime. Or, it may have been a lonely traveler on his camel. Either way, the city gates would be closed at night and the person arriving at the closed gate would have to squeeze through the eye of the needle. Obviously, it would be virtually impossible for a camel to do so, and hence Jesus’ injunction.
The most likely explanation is that Jesus was using hyperbole, a figure of speech that exaggerates for emphasis. Jesus used this technique at other times, referring to a “plank” in one’s eye (Matthew 7:3-5) and swallowing a camel (Matthew 23:24).
Jesus’ message is clear - it’s impossible for anyone to be saved on his own merits.
Off-the-docks Jews (Orthodox Jews) - Archie Bunker
All men are Jews, except they don't know it. - Bernard Malamud
The only thing chicken about Israel is their soup. - Bob Hope
I am Irish as a person, but I feel Jewish as an actor. - Harrison Ford
Jesus was a Jew, yes, but only on his mother's side. - Archie Bunker
Why do Jewish divorces cost so much? They're worth it. - Henny Youngman
I'm Jewish, so I don't know much about Easter eggs. - Simon Kinberg
I don't think anyone has been slandered more than the Jews. - Fidel Castro
I'm not a Jew. I'm Jewish. I don't go the whole hog. - Jonathan Miller
Jews don't drink much because it interferes with their suffering. - Milton Berle
Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis. - Brendan Behan
I think of myself as being Jewish and Irish, despite the fact that I'm English. - Daniel Radcliffe
This is a Jewish cake - they give this to a Jewish kid before he gets circumscribed. - Archie Bunker
You still can't find Israel on a map of the Middle East in a Palestinian schoolbook. - Suzanne Fields
It took one night to get Israel out of Egypt but forty years to get Egypt out of Israel. - George Morrison
Show me a Jewish boy who doesn't go to medical school and I'll show you a lawyer. - Milton Berle
Coming from Canada, being a writer and Jewish as well, I have impeccable paranoia credentials. - Mordecai Richler
Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies. - Milton Berle
I have drawn inspiration from the Marine Corps, the Jewish struggle in Palestine and Israel, and the Irish. - Leon Uris
The whole religious complexion of the modern world is due to the absence from Jerusalem of a lunatic asylum. - Havelock Ellis
This is the real enemy, the invader from the East, the Druze, the ruffian, the oriental parasite; in a word: the Jew. - George Bernard Shaw
Every year during their High Holy Days, the Jewish community reminds us all of our need for repentance and forgiveness. - Billy Graham
Israel is still the only country in the world against which there is a written document to the effect that it must disappear. - Menachem Begin
It goes back to Christianity's affiliation with Judaism as Passover. Easter is as important to Christians as Passover is to the Jews. - Glenn Duffy
A car hits a Jewish man. The paramedic rushes over and says, "Are you comfortable?" The guy says, "I make a good living." - Henny Youngman
Passover and Easter are the only Jewish and Christian holidays that move in sync, like the ice skating pairs we saw during the winter Olympics. - Marvin Olasky